The legality of gambling is a complex issue in many nations, and India is no exception. With the world of online betting currently hitting new heights, it’s essential for Indian players to understand what is and isn’t allowed when wagering online. The following guide will uncover the country’s gambling laws and aim to clear up any confusion, particularly in regards to sports betting.
Is Gambling Illegal in India?
The Public Gambling Act of 1867 prohibits the running of gambling houses throughout the country. However, each state has the authority to formulate and enforce their own laws. As a result of this autonomy, land-based casinos can be found in Goa, Daman, and Sikkim. The latter has continued to push for more widespread legalization, attempting and failing to obtain three licenses for online gambling in 2010. Despite this, Sikkim did succeed in establishing an online lottery that allows bets to be taken from across the nation.
The federal law also makes a distinction between gambling activities that are based on skill, which are more likely to be permitted, and those that are attributed to luck, which is generally illegal. To add to the confusion, India does allow bets to be placed on horse racing.
What About Gambling Online?
It is illegal for Indian casinos or betting sites to promote their brand or indeed operate online. Nevertheless, all potential sports bettors need to know is that there is no specific law that prohibits Indians from placing an online bet with a bookmaker based outside the country. The 2000 Information Technology Act, which regulates India’s cyber activities, makes no reference to gambling, thereby leaving the issue of online betting open to interpretation. And this loophole is how most Indian players are actively wagering on their favorite sports, especially cricket, which enjoys a level of devotion like no other.
Several offshore casinos have jumped on board this technicality by specifically appealing to Indian customers. For example, many sites have upped their investment in cricket markets, particularly the Indian Premier League (IPL), which has become the world’s most popular T20 competition in a relatively short space of time. In addition, some online casinos even offer payments in rupees, increasing their appeal to Indian players.
Five Factors to Consider When Betting Online
1. Choosing the Right Site
As the online gambling industry has simply exploded over the past decade, the number of available betting sites continues to soar. This vast choice naturally has its advantages, as companies compete with one another using lucrative incentives and bonuses, but it also poses a selection headache for many bettors. Luckily, there are reams of resources across the internet, particularly in India, which provide handy guides to the pros and cons of each bookmaker.
2. Verify the Casino’s Credentials
As Indians are only able to legally bet on offshore sites, it’s essential to choose a casino that has all the necessary licenses, obtained from trusted bodies, such as the UK Gambling Commission or the Malta Gaming Authority. This certification ensures fairness of play and the protection of personal data, guaranteeing all sensitive information is kept safe and secured at all times.
3. Check the Available Payment Options
One of the biggest obstacles Indians face when wagering online involves depositing money for bets. Due to the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), debit and credit cards, plus bank wire transfers, are often subject to certain conditions, which prohibit the transfer of funds across betting platforms. To avoid this hassle, more and more Indians are taking advantage of e-wallets, which essentially act as digital payment cards, renowned for their ease of use, security, privacy, and transaction speed.
4. Scour the Markets
Of course, cricket remains the number one sport for betting in India, so it’s essential to select a bookmaker with plenty of betting options within the cricket field. However, gamblers who prefer other sports, such as soccer, hockey, basketball, or even eSports, should make sure there is enough choice to cater to their needs and decent odds available on their preferred markets.
5. Don’t Forget Taxes!
Current Indian regulations place a 30% tax on all winnings derived from betting, which includes lotteries, casinos, and any sports-related activities. Offshore sites are required to deduct this tax from earnings that exceed INR 10,000. If this does not occur, bettors are personally responsible for declaring their winnings to the tax authorities.
The Future of Sports Betting in India
Online betting in India is expected to continue its surge in popularity, especially now that an increasing number of virtual bookmakers are tapping into this thriving market. If Indian residents follow the tips and advice of this guide, there is no reason why bettors can’t enjoy a safe and successful sports betting experience.